San Francisco (II) – Cousins and Babysitting

Calvin and Natalie surprisingly hit it off pretty well, considering their disparate interests. Calvin loves all those boyish things like dinosaurs and cars; Natalie likes dress ups, princesses and pretend play. But I guess there are always universal things like running around giggling and chasing each other, jumping on the bed, climbing around tunnels, playing at the playground that appeals to both genders.

Calvin is a lot more open to trying new things with Natalie around. He’s been climbing all over the playground, up ladders, jumping off the sofa, climbing over the sofa, riding on a carousel, even though there are still some slides that he still needs us to go down together with him. He even wanted to dress up in a tutu and crown like her, much to the chagrin of his dad. He did get bored of that fairly quickly and I hope it gets it out of his system to try out dresses.

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The two of them have their little quarrels when they fighting over the same tunnel or crashed into each other while running along the corridors. But think it’s a great experience for them to learn how to deal with conflict. It’s kinda like an extended playdate and since they are stuck with only each other for a while, it’s hard for the kids to just run away and play the avoidance card. All in all, I was very pleased that they were both very civil to each other – sharing well, taking turns obligingly and generally having a good time together.

That said, I felt like I’ve been doing a lot of babysitting of the three kiddos. I’ve been spending a lot of time playing with them, either individually or together, helping to get their food ready so they can eat first etc. It’s a little tiring because I end up with not much private time but it’s also satisfying in a work kind of way in that you feel pride in a job well done. Maybe I have potential to be a teacher after all. When I was young, I did aspire to be a teacher before though maybe it was because I thought teachers get holidays off with no homework?

It’s funny because their kids seem to like me. Maybe because I pay attention to them and have floor time with them, playing things that they like. When I read those articles about how parents should reward kids by giving them floor time, sometimes in units of 5 minutes, I used to wonder how that can be a reward because I already do that a couple of hours a day. In reality, many parents are probably too busy or thinks kids should be entertained by toys. We are just very involved parents in comparison.

By the fifth day,  Calvin got a little jealous of how Natalie was trying to monopolize our attention and apparently started throwing a tantrum at the playground. He would sit in the middle of it and say he is feeling sad. I was out with the mummies buying groceries for the cabin trip. Or he’ll try to use his saw blade hands and try to ‘cut’ Natalie off or tell her to “get off my mum/dad” when she jumps on us.

 

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